Paul is one of the organizers of the Quasar Group, and is very interested in supermassive black holes, galaxies, and their connection to large-scale structure. Two of his main projects are measuring the masses of supermassive black holes with reverberation mapping and the search for quasars in the very early universe. He has worked in the past on early commissioning and science verification data for DES, and he presently contributes to spectroscopic observations and analysis. He is also a member of the DES Speaker’s Bureau, Science Committee, and likes to contribute to education and public outreach.
We asked Paul a few more questions – here’s what he had to say:
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
I’ve wanted to be a scientist ever since I realized I should probably come up with an answer to the question ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ I have been absolutely fascinated to learn how much we can learn about the universe from a very young age, and it is a continual thrill to participate in extending the boundaries of human knowledge, as well as to share that excitement and knowledge with others.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
I still remember how much I enjoyed reading Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” when I was in high school. Of course the subject matter was enthralling, but I also loved how the book made the process of scientific discovery seem accessible.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
I suggest you make this your main research project: How do I become a scientist? A great place to start is to talk to scientists about their career paths, find topics that really excite you, and seek out research opportunities in those areas.